What a loaded question. What does success look like? We all strive for it, we all hope to be successful “some day,” but what do we actually mean when we use the word success?

I took some time to review some of the many Creative Spirit interviews I have on Artist Strong and decided to share my understanding of success for the following creatives:

Kindness and mindfulness sound like great things to aim for, no? More important, however, is to listen carefully to yourself and acknowledge what goals you wish to reach.

For Creative Spirit Alex Mill, success means leaving a Buddhist Monastery where he studied for 13 years to bring meditation and mindful connection to people via Kindnessville. What is Alex’s message to his readers? That there is nothing wrong – with anything, especially themselves.”

For Creative Spirit Hayley Sabella (and a former art student of mine way back in the day 🙂 ), success means acknowledging her love of music and using Kickstarter to raise enough funds to promote and record her first full length album. (Which was funded, with her album realized April 18, 2014).

Or let us take a peek at Creative Spirit Gwenn Seemel, an artist I truly admire. Gwenn loves making art, but success includes educating people on the merits of free culture (how copyright actually hinders creativity).

The irony is, if I return to ask these Creatives Spirits the specific question of: what does success look like to you? the answer could change. Why? Perhaps my summation has missed something important to the individual. In some cases, one or many of their goals may be achieved. And once we reach a goal, we are prone to set more. I bet each and every Creative Spirit I interview would have a different answer as well. Why? Because success is a personal and individual experience.

For Gwenn, success includes encouraging people to embrace a world as free from copyright as possible.

We toy with the word success and toss it around so much it has lost its meaning. It can continue to be an amorphous idea, blurred and distant. Or, we can take the time to reflect and admit what success really means to us as an individual. That is the only success that matters.

In the end, I ask you to consider a better question: What does success look like to you?!

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Do you have an answer to that question? Share in the comments at ArtistStrong, I want to hear about it.